Gentry Isn’t Worried About Suns’ Roster
The Phoenix Suns have seen major roster changes take place during the offseason. Gone is Steve Nash, replacing him is his former backup Goran Dragic. Grant Hill left Phoenix for the Los Angeles Clippers, being replaced by Michael Beasley. Whether this makes the team better or worse is yet to be determined, but any time you lose a two-time MVP and a former first team All-NBA player, it’s likely a step backwards.
The Suns’ biggest offseason move was signing restricted free agent Eric Gordon to an offer sheet, which the New Orleans Hornets recently matched. Head coach Alvin Gentry isn’t worried about the roster though, he’s only worried about getting the best out of his players.
“Our basketball people handle those type of decisions and I coach the team,” Gentry told HOOPSWORLD at the Las Vegas Summer League. “Whoever we have out there when training camp starts, that’s who we’ll coach and that’s who we’ll try to get playing at a real high level.”
Gentry may not make personnel decisions, but he hopes management continues to add a certain type of player to the Suns’ roster.
“Good players,” Gentry joked. “We’ve just got to try and continue to add guys that fit into our system and we’ll continue to work at it.”
What that system will be next season is still up for debate. Over the past eight seasons, the Suns have been led by Nash and have flourished under the ‘Seven Seconds Or Less’ style of offense. Now, with Nash’s departure, Gentry is open to a change.
“I think we’ve got to figure out exactly what type of team we are going to have and then we will figure out what type of basketball we are going to play and what style,” Gentry explained. “Obviously it’s going to change a little bit with some of the subtractions from our team, but we still have some talent and we still added some guys. The key for us is to just play hard and remain competitive.”
Two players that Gentry is hoping can make important contributions to the Suns this upcoming season are second-year forward Markieff Morris and rookie point guard Kendall Marshall, both of whom are playing in the Las Vegas Summer League.
Last season, Morris primarily came off the bench for the Suns and averaged a respectable 7.4 points per game in only 19 minutes. However, he did shoot poorly from the field making less than 40 percent of his shots. If Morris hopes to challenge for a starting spot he’ll need to improve across the board, and the summer league is a good place for him to get started.
“For Markieff, it’s his second year,” Gentry discussed. “It gives him an opportunity to play six to seven games here against really good competition.”
Summer league is crucial for rookies like Marshall as well. Marshall suffered a wrist injury during last year’s NCAA Tournament and missed North Carolina’s run to the Final Four. With Marshall limited leading up to the draft, there were questions about whether or not he could excel at a NBA level. The summer league is a chance for him to put those questions to rest.
“For a guy like Kendall Marshall and the young rookies, it’s really important for them to get a taste of the NBA before they are really thrown in full circle,” Gentry said. “It’s the pace of the game, the speed of the game and the size of the players are so much different than college. I think it’s a chance for him to get acclimated to the speed and the strength of the league.”
The Suns aren’t likely to be a playoff team this season, but how long their rebuilding plan takes will rely heavily on whether or not Gentry can get the most out of his young team, including Morris and Marshall.